Tag Archives: Coronavirus

Coronavirus Uncertainties: NOAA Cancels Four Fisheries and Ecosystem Surveys for 2020

Due to the uncertainties created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the unique challenges those are creating for NOAA Fisheries, we are cancelling four research surveys off the East and Gulf Coast of the United States. The cancelled surveys include: Autumn Bottom Trawl Survey (NEFSC), Summer Ecosystem Monitoring Survey (NEFSC), Northern Shrimp Survey (NEFSC), Summer and Fall Plankton Survey (SEFSC). These are difficult decisions for the agency as we strive to balance our need to maintain core mission responsibilities with the realities and impacts of the current health crisis. >click to read< 18:33

Hitchhiking honeymooners hitch a 9,200km trawler ride – Fishermen, honeymooners back in NZ after voyage from Falkland Islands

A New Zealand honeymoon couple stranded on the remote Falkland Islands in March because of the coronavirus have managed to return home by hitching a ride of more than 9,200 kilometers on an Antarctic fishing boat. Skipper Shane Cottle said he was a bit nervous at first about taking the couple on his 38-meter vessel San Aotea II, along with the crew of 14. >click to read< Fishermen, honeymooners back in NZ after voyage from Falkland Islands – Fifty-nine days after it departed Timaru on a mission to retrieve stranded fishermen from the Falkland Islands, the San Aotea II returned to the port on Tuesday morning – its passengers and crew ecstatic to finally be home. >click to read, and timeline of events< 14:52

Second coronavirus wave would be ‘catastrophic,’ Massachusetts fishermen say

Commercial fishermen and lobstermen in Massachusetts already “crippled” by the coronavirus pandemic say they fear a second wave in the fall would sink the industry. “If there’s a shutdown then, it could be catastrophic,” said Joey Ciaramitaro, co-owner of Gloucester-based Captain Joe & Sons wholesale lobsters. People think of summer as the lobster season, but really, the fall is when the most lobsters get landed. That’s what we’re most concerned about: shutdowns in the fall,” Ciaramitaro said.  Video,  >click to read< 19:35

How Coronavirus Has Changed Business for Gloucester Fishermen

Gloucester has been a fishing town since its founding in the early 1620s, and the industry was the backbone of the local economy well into the 20th century. In recent decades, however, the industry has struggled as it grapples with regulations designed to prevent over-fishing and limit environmental damages. Many fishermen with long family histories in the business have had to turn to new professions, and the city’s fishing fleet has declined significantly since its peak.  When the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, the situation became even worse. Government mandates and public health recommendations closed the doors of many restaurants, where the vast majority of the seafood consumed in the United States is eaten. In 2017, about 68 percent of the money Americans spent on seafood—some $70 billion—was at restaurants, according to a report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. >click to read< 10:11

F/V San Aspiring crew back from Falklands ahead of schedule aboard F/V San Aotea II

The mission to retrieve 15 Kiwi fishermen from the South Atlantic Ocean is almost at an end, with the F/V San Aotea II anchoring off the coast of Timaru, in New Zealand’s southern island, a day ahead of schedule. According to reports in the NZ media, the long liner was expected to arrive in Timaru on August 1 after a 55-day round trip, but arrived on Friday morning, ahead of schedule thanks to unusually good weather in the South Pacific in the past week, Sanford spokesperson Fiona MacMillan said. >click to read< 13:10

CARES Act: California Fisheries Relief Funding Soon to be Available for Select Sectors Affected by Coronavirus

Coastal and marine fishery participants – including licensed commercial fishermen, fish buyers, aquaculture businesses, charter boat owners and guides – who have experienced a loss of income due to the effects of COVID-19 may be eligible for federal relief funding disbursed through the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). The funding is part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This more than $2 trillion economic relief package provides direct economic assistance for American workers, families and small businesses that have been impacted COVID-19. About $18 million in CARES funding was earmarked specifically for fisheries assistance in California. >click to read< 12:07

“Aussie Lobster Men”: Tasmania’s Aussie Lobster Man!

Brendan “Squizzy” Taylor and the boys portray the real lives of a crew on board a commercial fishing vessel here in Tassie. Filming was originally due to finish back in March, but like most things the pandemic hit and filming was delayed. The pandemic has transformed the lobster industry dramatically, Squizzy revealed the price of lobster had dropped significantly in the past few months. “This has been the most stressful time of my life in the family business. The industry got turned on its head overnight” At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the only place he was able to sell lobsters was straight off the boat in Margate to locals. >click to read< 11:09

A message from Chris Oliver on National-Level Observer Waiver Criteria; Redeployment in Northeast To Begin

To improve transparency in our approach to observer deployment, we have established national-level criteria for vessels to be waived (released) from observer or at-sea monitor coverage. Going forward, observer or monitor coverage may be waived, for both full and partial-coverage fisheries, on a trip-specific basis if one of the following two criteria are met: (1) Observers or at-sea monitors are not available for deployment; or (2) The observer providers cannot meet the safety protocols imposed by a state on commercial fishing crew or by the vessel or vessel company on its crew. Within our limited authority, our efforts are intended to ensure observers and monitors are following the same safety protocols that fishermen are following. >click to read< 17:50

UPDATE: U.S. Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation into loss of F/V Scandies Rose has postponed Pubic Hearing

The U.S. Coast Guard has postponed the public hearing, part of the larger investigation into circumstances surrounding the sinking of the commercial fishing vessel (F/V) Scandies Rose and the loss of five of its seven crewmembers. The hearing was scheduled to take place in Seattle September 8-18, 2020. The decision to delay the public hearing was made to protect the health of the investigative team, the witnesses, and families and to comply with federal and state travel restrictions to reduce the spread of COVID-19. “The public hearing is a critical part of the Marine Board of Investigation (MBI) process, one that requires transparency. Those affected by this tragedy have the right to attend in person and, if we can’t afford them that, we owe them an alternative means,” said Cmdr. Greg Callaghan, MBI Chair. >click to read< 13:57

Florida fisheries wait for federal aid as prices take a deep dive – fisheries across the nation have experienced steep sales decline

Federal officials Wednesday defended the delay in releasing $300 million on fisheries assistance funding, including $23.4 million for Florida, saying the pandemic has set them behind in analyzing data to determine how much each fishery is due. Senators on the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee urged faster action to offset the impacts of COVID-19 on the seafood industry. Committee Chairman Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., noted that fisheries across the nation have experienced up to a 90 percent decline in sales.,, In May, the CARES Act allocated $300 million for fisheries assistance funding. Florida received $23,447,815, according to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. However, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has not approved the state’s plan. >click to read< 13:03

Trump admin Coronavirus task force urges Alaska to require masks for seafood plants and hot spots

The state should mandate masks, especially in seafood processing plants and places with high or rising case counts, to slow Alaska’s explosive coronavirus infection rates. That’s the recommendation of a July 26 report distributed to states by the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force,,, The update summarized the state’s largest COVID-19 outbreaks to date. The top four involve the seafood industry and together involve more than 350 people: 139 out of about 252 workers at the OBI Seafoods plant in Seward; 85 out of about 119 workers on the factory trawler American Triumph; 76 workers out of about 135 at the Copper River Seafoods plant in Anchorage; and 62 out of about 150 at the Alaska Glacier Seafoods plant in Juneau. >click to read< 09:49

Despite the Coronavirus pandemic, bait shrimping business is good

Over the past few years, the shrimping business has been struggling. Even the number of boats licensed to catch bait shrimp in Texas bays has dropped. There are currently only about 300 boats licensed to catch bait shrimp in Texas bay waters compared to 2,378 in 1988. Just days after Hurricane Hanna slammed into the Coastal Bend, those few bait shrimping boats were back at work to meet the public demand. “They have been selling as fast as we can get them. It is gone. We are steady every day; every day we need 200 pounds every day,”, video, >click to read< 09:22

On the fishing docks of Point Judith: Sales are down, but they still work hard in the heat

She was surrounded by 450-pound barrels of the bottom fish, brought in by draggers. Despite wholesale lobster prices being down from the pandemic, boats are still going out to scratch out a paycheck. It’s all they have. Andrea was wearing orange oilers and rubber boots in the sun, driving a huge needle through four frisbee-size skates at a time to make a “string.” The bait not only lures lobsters but is good eating for them during the days they’re in traps before being hauled. Andrea joked that her skates are what makes lobsters taste good. I asked how old she is. She smiled and said, “None of your business,” then allowed she might be in her mid-60s. She’s a longtime fixture on the docks, having started “The Bait Company” there 36 years ago to serve the big boats that go out to sea. photos, >click to read< 22:15

Maine lobstermen prepare for uncertain summer season, hoping for further federal relief

More than 1,300 lobstermen in Maine – about 1 in 3 – received forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), with the majority amounting to roughly $10,900.,, New data from the U.S. Small Business Administration shows that altogether, Maine’s lobster industry received roughly $24 million in PPP funding, the most given to any business concern in the state; dine-in restaurants, beauty salons, real estate, and home building received the next highest amounts. While the bulk of the fishing sector money – nearly $15 million – went to fishermen, some dealers, retailers and processors received loans between $150,000 and $1 million. >click to read< 17:49

Juneau processor sanitized, screened, quarantined but Coronavirus still got in

On July 4, a Juneau resident who works at Alaska Glacier Seafoods started showing COVID-19 symptoms. He quarantined at home immediately and got tested. “Unfortunately, you can be contagious for days prior to showing symptoms,” said Jim Erickson, vice president and co-owner of the company. “That’s what makes this disease so hard to get in front of.” Health officials who investigated the case say it resulted from community spread — not from inside the plant. “We’re not sure where he contracted it initially, because he’s probably not sure,” Erickson said this week. “I mean, let’s face it, you could pick it up anywhere.” >click to read< 15:10

Icelandic Cod Spray Bodes Well Against Coronavirus

While several countries across the globe are vying to create a vaccine against COVID-19, Iceland, a nation of fishermen, has come up with a possible solution of its own. PreCold, a mouth spray intended to be used against the first symptoms of a cold based on cod enzymes, has proven efficient during tests and managed to deactivate about 98.3% of the virus that causes COVID-19, national broadcaster RÚV reported. The spray creates a protective film in the pharynx where the viruses that cause the common cold tend to localise and replicate. The film using enzymes extracted from cod offal, weakens viruses so they fail to replicate to a degree that makes the host sick. >click to read< 07:27

Coronavirus: COVID-19 and mandated on-board fisheries observers during the pandemic resurgence

The NOAA/NMFS “Navy’s” at-sea surveys in the Northeast region were cancelled at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and will not be resumed for at least the remainder of this year. “Since March, we have been rigorously analyzing various options for conducting cruises this year and are taking a  survey-by-survey, risk-based approach. After much deliberation, we determined that there was no way to move forward with these surveys while effectively minimizing risk and meeting core survey objectives,” according to officials at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center in a statement issued July 10.,,, But mandatory on-board observers pose no COVID 19 threat to commercial captains or crew?,, the mandatory on-board observers are scheduled to be back aboard commercial fishing vessels come August. >click to read< By Nils Stolpe, http://fishnet-usa.com/ 21:08

Nfld. & Labrador to research live seafood cold storage at Gander International, Port aux Basques for International Export

The Department of Fisheries and Land Resources is looking into creating new areas for cold storage of live seafood in the province, allowing more product headed for international markets to come directly from Newfoundland and Labrador. The provincial government announced $100,000 to determine the feasibility of creating cold storage facilities in Port aux Basques and at Gander International Airport Monday. Fisheries Minister Gerry Byrne said the idea is centred around creating cold storage for live products like lobsters and oysters. >click to read< 16:52

New Beijing coronavirus outbreak deals blow to China consumer confidence with seafood sales dropping 70%

The new COVID-19 outbreak in Beijing has dealt a heavy blow to the nation‘s seafood sector, pushing sales down 60-70 percent compared with pre-pandemic levels, and analysts said it‘s the worst time for the industry in decades. Seafood orders are canceled and marketplaces are shut in Beijing, where about 25 percent of China‘s seafood consumption takes place. Consumers elsewhere in the country are cautious, too, and it‘s taking a heavy toll on the sector. >click to read<  12:50

Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 24, 2020

A lull in returns today at 468,000 fish, the daily harvest bay-wide was about half what it was the day before. The total run is 55.9 million fish, about half a million away from last year’s. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released the final environmental review for the proposed Pebble Mine. A Seattle-based seafood processor will pay out more than $440,000 to workers at a Bristol Bay cannery, the result of a settlement after the company was sued in June. “We think that it is a fair and just compensation for the workers that were held for 12 days at a hotel without being paid,” said Jonathan Davis, a managing partner of the San Francisco-based Arns Law Firm, which filed the lawsuit. The firm took on the case pro bono, so it will not receive any compensation for its work. The processor, North Pacific Seafoods, was sued for false imprisonment and failing to pay the workers, among other charges.  >click to read< 15:30

Florida Delegation Want Commercial Fishermen Included in USDA’s Lobster Relief Program

This week, the Florida congressional delegation, led by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., urged U.S. Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue to include Florida’s commercial fishermen in the lobster relief program announced by President Donald Trump on June 24. The program addresses harm to the United States lobster industry caused by steep tariffs imposed by the Chinese government. Dear Secretary Perdue, We write to request the inclusion of Florida commercial fishermen in the lobster relief program announced by President Trump on June 24, 2020, in response to the difficulties facing the United States lobster industry due to tariff action by the Chinese government. >click to read< 09:25

Bristol Bay salmon processors are starting to post base prices. They are extremely disappointing.

Fishermen have confirmed that Trident Seafoods, Red Salmon / North Pacific Seafoods, OBI Seafoods, and Peter Pan Seafoods have posted a base price of $0.70 per pound for sockeye. That’s just over half of last year’s base price of $1.35. “Well it’s — it’s ridiculous, because it’s not worth it at all. Because I’m putting all this money in,” says Alex, a captain from Wasilla who fishes for Peter Pan Seafoods. He declined to give his last name. Alex says that coming out of a tough season, he’s extremely disappointed with the prices. >click to read< 10:21

‘We have no market, but lots of lobsters’: a Maine lobsterwoman fights for her livelihood

“If I’m not fishing, I’m working on gear or my boat. Or meetings involving fishing. It’s what I eat, sleep and breathe,” lobsterwoman Julie Eaton tells me.,, I ask her what it’s like to start lobster season. “How do I even begin to tell you what it feels like?” she says, sighing. “It feels like I’ve held my breath all winter. Finally, when I turn the key to my boat and I’m going across the bay, my lungs fill with air for the first time in months. All of a sudden I feel alive.,,, “The pandemic is killing us,” Julie Eaton tells me. “It’s a terrible thing. We have no market, but lots of lobsters. We’re safe to fish on our boats. On my boat, it’s just me and my stern-woman. But I have no place to sell my catch! >click to read<  08:44

After Proposing A Five-Week Cut, Florida Cuts Stone Crab Season By Two Weeks

After originally threatening to shorten the stone crab season by five weeks, the commission conceded to complaints in a virtually held meeting on Wednesday and shortened the season by only two weeks, with a new end date of May 1. The new rules go into effect Oct. 1. The commission finalized its rules after hosting a series of virtual workshops since June with industry stakeholders, who widely criticized the agency’s original proposals. On Wednesday, commissioners acknowledged that the new rules, even with a May 1 end of season, would succeed in keeping more than 300,000 pounds of stone crabs from being harvested, which should surpass the agency’s goal of saving 1 million pounds of stone crabs from harvest over a five-year period. >click to read< 07:58

Newfoundland shrimp fishermen still in limbo as fish plants remain idle

Normally, the shrimp fishing season starts by June, with fishers in this area wrapping up their season in late August and hoping not to have to fish through the bad weather months of mid to late fall. But a wrangle over shrimp prices has lasted longer than usual, thanks in part to the uncertain markets caused by Coronavirus. In mid June the province’s Price Setting Panel decided on a price of $1.18 per pound, choosing the price suggested by the Fish Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor) over the price of .70 cents per pound suggested by the Association of Seafood Processors (ASP). Meanwhile, according to the union, shrimp processors in New Brunswick and Quebec, including a Royal Greenland-owned plant, have been buying shrimp from harvesters in that province while refusing to purchase from Newfoundland and Labrador harvesters. >click to read< 07:37

Coronavirus: Commercial Fishing During A Pandemic

My name’s Jake Bunch and I’m a commercial fisherman based out of Half Moon Bay, California. Jake started fishing in 2012. He fishes for king salmon, Dungeness crab, and sablefish, or black cod. Jake says he hasn’t been fishing anywhere near as much as he usually would this time of year. With shelter-in-place and other coronavirus related restrictions there just haven’t been enough buyers and reliable markets to make it worth it. Before COVID, about 75% of commercially fished salmon in California went to restaurants. Now, that market has mostly dried up. >click to read< 10:36

Fishing industry seeks emergency waiver from federal fishery observer requirement.

West Coast trawlers and fishing industry leaders looking to minimize the risk of exposure to the coronavirus are asking for an emergency waiver from a requirement to carry human observers. The National Marine Fisheries Service provided a two-week waiver from observer coverage in the spring. Chris Oliver, assistant administrator for NOAA Fisheries, clarified in a message posted Thursday that waivers remain available on a vessel-by-vessel basis. According to a spokesman, the federal agency has issued some individual vessel waivers for trips in the past three months — all were for times when observers were not available, not for other reasons, such as a vessel operator’s concerns about the coronavirus. >click to read< 15:54

South Shore fishermen are finding demand for Atlantic bluefin tuna is way down

“It’s all about supply and demand and there’s no demand for them, so the dealers don’t want to keep buying them if they’re not able to keep selling them,” fisherman Greg Ares, based out of Green Harbor in Marshfield, said. “Maybe within the next week or two, restaurants will be opened up in the U.S., sushi restaurants, and they will purchase our bluefin tuna. Even if I get $6 a pound, that’s good enough to keep going.” American Bluefin Tuna Association President David Schalit said price has not really changed. “What has changed is the demand,” he said. “The demand is way, way off. Restaurants in the U.S. are barely open, some are maybe selling takeaway, some are still closed and in the Boston or New York areas, you see tables on the sidewalk.” >click to read< 15:14

A factory fishing trawler is docked in Dutch Harbor with 85 Coronavirus cases. Now it’s headed for Seward.

More than two-thirds of the crew of a huge factory fishing vessel docked in the Aleutian fishing port of Dutch Harbor has tested positive for COVID-19, local authorities announced Sunday. The 85 cases are on board the American Triumph, owned by Seattle-based American Seafoods, one of the biggest players in the billion dollar Bering Sea pollock fishery. The American Triumph, and its crew members who tested positive, are scheduled to depart Unalaska late Sunday or early Monday with American Seafoods medical support personnel on board. They’re scheduled to sail to Seward and arrive by Wednesday,,, >click to read< 09:34

Coronavirus snagged the R.I. fishing industry, so state let fishermen sell direct to the public

In the spring, when the state closed restaurants to stop the spread of the coronavirus, fishermen were hit hard. Prices dropped dramatically. In some cases, wholesalers stopped buying, and fishermen had no place to sell their catch. To help fishermen navigate this storm, the state temporarily changed some regulations to allow them to peddle their catches directly to consumers, fish markets and restaurants, instead of selling exclusively to wholesalers. Fifteen Rhode Island fishermen are “actively using” their direct-sale licenses, according to Nichole Ares, principal biologist for the DEM’s marine fisheries division. The fishermen have sold about 13,000 pounds of fish for a total of about of $40,000. More than 160 fishermen applied for the licenses,,, photo’s, >click to read< 18:43